SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — On Friday, January 25, detectives were granted an arrest warrant, from a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office cold case Investigation charging, 85-year-old Duke J. Pierson with Murder in the first degree for the death of then, 31-year-old Dorothy Fielding.
After obtaining the arrest warrant, detectives planned to arrest Pierson, despite his known failing health, at his residence in Covington County, Alabama, the Spokane Co. Sheriff’s office reported.
Monday, detectives confirmed Pierson died on January 22, 2019, reportedly due to natural causes, the department said.
Fielding was reported missing in August of 1967, and her decomposed body was discovered, eight months later, in a shallow grave near the area of the Seven-Mile ORV Park. The case had remained unsolved since that time, the sheriff’s office reported.
The Spokane Co. Sheriff’s office says investigators are continuing to work two additional cold case reports which also occurred during the same time frame. The September 12, 1967 reported suicide of 33-year-old Sandra Pierson, Duke Pierson’s wife at the time, and the case of 47-year-old Ruby Lampson who was reported missing on June 6, 1967. In 1971, Lampson’s badly decomposed body was discovered in a shallow grave near the Seven-Mile ORV Park, not far from the location where Fielding’s remains were discovered.
This cold case investigation was reopened in April of 2018 after the Major Crimes Unit received a call inquiring about the 1967 Dorothy Fielding death investigation. The sheriff’s office reported that the caller mentioned Fielding was a member of the Falls View Tavern bowling team which caught detective Kirk Keyser’s attention. Detective Keyser, having reviewed the Ruby Lampson investigation ten years earlier, remembered the Falls View Tavern was mentioned in that case.
The Spokane County Sheriff’s office reported Monday that as detective Keyser began reviewing the Fielding investigation, he confirmed both victims, Fielding and Lampson, had frequented the Falls View Tavern and noticed several additional similarities. Witnesses had indicated the two women not only frequented the same locations, but also reported they were acquaintances as well.
He noted the two women had disappeared within two months of each other and their badly decomposing bodies were found in shallow graves within approximately 1.8 miles of each other in a very rural area of Seven-Mile. The reports also indicated Fielding had been having an affair with Duke Pierson prior to being reported missing.
Additionally, Detective Keyser learned Sandra Pierson, Duke Pierson’s wife at the time of Lampson’s and Fielding’s disappearance, was found deceased in what was reported as a suicide on September 12, 1967, the sheriff’s office reported
With these similarities, Detective Keyser began reviewing all three cold cases and worked to obtain additional information. This led to the arrest warrant Friday for Pierson charging him with the murder of Fielding, the sheriff’s office reported
Anyone who may have any information regarding Duke Pierson, Dorothy Fielding, Ruby Lampson, or Sandra Pierson, is urged to call Detective Keyser at 509-477-6611.